Coronavirus: Social distancing and self-isolation
Updated guidance to reflect national lockdown. Key points are outlined below:
“Any carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit. This also applies for those of a child or young person in your care. They should follow social distancing guidance where close or personal contact is not required.
“If you need additional help to follow this guidance, your local council may be able to help. If you are advised to shield you will be able to register yourself or someone else to:
- request priority access to a supermarket delivery slot (if you have already got priority access that will continue – you do not need to do anything further)
- tell your council if you need support to follow shielding guidance, especially if you are unable to arrange this yourself or with the help of friends, family or other support networks
- make sure your details, such as your address, are up to date
“When registering you will be asked for your NHS number. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, or on a prescription. It is helpful if you register even if you do not have any support needs at this time. You can log in and update your needs if circumstances change at any time.”
A copy of the letter that will be sent to everyone on the SPL. DHSC expect these letters to start landing on doorsteps on Saturday and the final ones to land by the end of next week.
If you or your child has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, you will receive a letter from the Government addressed personally to you. This letter is to let you know about the guidance that is in place for clinically extremely vulnerable people during the national lockdown.
As part of the lockdown, the Government is advising all clinically extremely vulnerable people to take extra shielding measures to protect themselves. This advice will apply until 21 February 2021.
The Prime Minister has announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. Key resources:
- Stay at home – what you can and cannot do
- Prime Minister announces national lockdown (press release)
- Prime Minister's address to the nation: 4 January 2021
- Slides and datasets to accompany PM's coronavirus address: 4 January 2021
- COVID-19 alert level: update from the UK Chief Medical Officers
What you can and cannot do in areas with a very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place. Change made: Under ‘Where and when you can meet in larger groups’, added ‘social care workers providing support to children and families’ as an example of working in other people’s homes. Under ‘Travelling out of a Tier 4 area’, added a legally permitted reason to travel: ‘to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm (such as domestic abuse)’.
Clinically extremely vulnerable living in Tier 4 areas are advised to stay at home at all times, unless for exercise or medical appointments, and not to attend work, even if they are unable to work from home.
The government will be ensuring that support is available for those who need it, such as access to food and medicines and signposting to local support or befriending services, to enable people to stay at home as much as possible over this period. NHS Volunteer Responders can also help with a regular, friendly phone call, and transport to and from medical appointments.
Letters will be going out to all those affected by the new shielding rules for Tier 4 areas.
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable but living in Tiers 1 to 3 should follow existing guidance – there is no formal shielding advice currently in place in areas outside Tier 4.
This page sets out the full list of local restriction tiers by area from 20 December. Decisions on which area goes into which tier are primarily based on 5 key epidemiological indicators:
- case detection rates in all age groups
- case detection rates in the over-60s
- the rate at which cases are rising or falling
- positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken)
- pressure on the NHS
The indicators are designed to provide a full picture of what is happening with the virus in any area so that suitable action can be taken.
What you can and cannot do in areas with a very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place from 20 December.
The Prime Minister has announced tougher restrictions for parts of England with a new Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ alert level.
Meeting friends and family over the Christmas period – forming a Christmas Bubble. Updated with 19 December guidance.
Guidance for the Christmas period. New guidance issued.
This page sets out the full list of local restriction tiers by area from Wednesday 2 December 2020. Some areas will change tier on 19 December.
How you can safely expand the group of people you have close contact with during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Updated with clarification of how support bubbles work for those in more than one type of bubble, and simplified guidance on travelling to form a support bubble.
How you can safely expand the group of people you have close contact with during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Amended the eligibility criteria for a support bubble and added guidance on how to switch your support bubble. You can form a support bubble with another household of any size if:
- you live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support
- you are the only adult in your household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability
- your household includes a child who is under the age of one or was under that age on 2 December 2020
- your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5, or was under that age on 2 December 2020
- you are a child aged 16 or over living alone or with other children and without any adults
- you are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 or were under that age on 12 June 2020
- You should not form a support bubble with a household that is part of another support bubble.
Details have been set out by the Government to help local areas detect asymptomatic cases and offer a route out of the toughest restrictions.
Sets out the local restriction tier system that will be in place from Wednesday 2 December, including what you can and cannot do in each tier.
From 23 December to 27 December, you may choose to form a Christmas bubble.
A Christmas bubble will be able to spend time together in private homes, to attend places of worship, or meet in a public outdoor place. In all other settings, people should follow local restrictions in the tier in which they are staying.
Information on social distancing. Updated in line with latest government guidance.
How you can safely expand the group of people you have close contact with during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Amended the definition of ‘what a support bubble is’. Added information about childcare bubbles. Added guidance about forming or maintaining a support bubble if you’re clinically extremely vulnerable: “if you feel it is essential for your physical or mental health, you can maintain an existing support bubble, or form a new one if you have not been in one since 14 September, in line with wider regulations for the period that national restrictions apply. This is a personal choice and should be balanced against the increased risk of infection.”
Government has added all adults who have Down’s syndrome to the group of people who are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable. This is the group who were previously advised to shield.
The Department of Health and Social Care has write to care providers to inform them of the addition of people with Down’s Syndrome to the SPL, to enable them to support individuals to follow the updated advice for this group.
People who are on the SPL are advised to follow the guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable from Thursday 5th November 2020.
People who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should receive a letter from their GP confirming they have been added to the Shielding Patient List (SPL). This letter will also confirm how to access support, such as access to medicine and groceries; and encourage people to book their flu vaccination, and their annual health check.
If a person with Down’s Syndrome who has not yet received a letter from their GP, they are recommended to follow the guidance regardless, and await a letter from their GP surgery.
- Letter to care providers and commissioners from DHSC
- Letter to GPs from DHSC
- Letter to people with Down’s syndrome from NHS
- Letter to people with Down’s syndrome (Easy Read) from NHS
- Adding Down’s syndrome to the clinically extremely vulnerable conditions list – Q&A
- Adding Down’s syndrome to the clinically extremely vulnerable conditions list - Easy Read Q&A
- CEV lockdown Q&A for local authorities and health charities
Information for shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. Updated guidance in line with national restrictions commencing 5 November 2020. Easy-read guidance temporarily removed and will be updated shortly.
Key points for people who are extremely vulnerable:
- Stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essential health appointments. You may wish to meet up with one other person from outside your household or support bubble, for example, to exercise in an outdoor public place.
- Work from home. If you cannot work from home, you should not attend work for this period of restrictions. If you cannot attend work for this reason, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit
- Any carers or visitors who support you, or a child or young person in your care, with everyday needs, can continue to visit.
- Do not to go to a pharmacy – arrange for someone to collect prescriptions, or for pharmacy to deliver them
- Seek support from the NHS and other health providers for your existing health conditions and any new health concerns.
- Access support from local charities, organisations and NHS Volunteer Responders. Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or visit NHS Volunteer Responders.
- Find out what help you might be able to get from your local council.
Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available. Updated to reflect current guidance.
Guidance for contacts of a person with a positive test result for coronavirus (COVID-19) who do not live with that person. Added updated easy-read guidance.
Details on new local COVID Alert Levels set out by the Prime Minister. Levels are Medium, High and Very High.
Information on local COVID alert levels, including what they mean, why they are being introduced and what the different levels are. Details on each level at links below:
This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means people must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors
This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This means the following additional measures are in place:
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures. The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
- People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
- People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.
Online postcode checker to find the alert level where you live, work or visit.
The areas in England listed as local COVID alert level high and local COVID alert level very high.
Operating principles for commissioners and providers of night shelters for people experiencing rough sleeping.
This report sets out the progress and learning from the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in informing advice and recommendations to government and the social care sector. Added easy-read version of How Coronavirus has affected people with learning disabilities and autistic people.
Legal duty to self-isolate comes into force today, to ensure compliance and reduce spread of COVID-19
A new package has been announced to support and enforce self-isolation.
A list of areas with additional local restrictions. Includes information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak. Added North East of England: local restrictions.
Restrictions on groups of six: exemptions for social care – 17 September 2020 - DHSC
DHSC has provided the following statement to CPA members on how the restrictions on groups of over six people impacts care, particularly day services and care homes:
"There is an exemption from the gathering limit for people working, this means that someone who is gathering with others where reasonably necessary for work purposes will not be subject to the six person limit.
There is also an exemption from the gathering limit where the gathering is reasonably necessary to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, which would therefore exclude gatherings for the purposes of care from the limit. Residents would likely also be considered as being part of the same household unless for example they were living in separate buildings with distinct shared facilities, and so could gather with each other in groups larger than six.
Gatherings involving people visiting a care home would need to be limited to six including the resident(s).
DHSC have also included an exemption for support groups. This means that the majority of support groups are not subject to the six person social gathering limit if they are organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support to its members or those who attend its meetings.
This includes, but is not limited to, providing support to those with, or caring for persons with, any long-term illness, disability or terminal condition or who are vulnerable.”
How you can safely expand the group of people you have close contact with during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Updated the guidance to say that support bubbles cannot be changed.
Registered health and care professionals travelling to the UK from high-risk countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, the government has confirmed.
The self-isolation period has been extended to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or a positive test result.
How you can see people that you do not live with while protecting yourself and others from coronavirus (COVID-19). Updated the guidance on gathering in larger groups and travelling to meet people, and the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people.
From 6 July, people who are shielding will: no longer need to socially distance from people they live with; be able to meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from other households; may form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household; still be able to get a food box, care and/or medicine delivery until 31 July (if registered online by 17 July).
From 1 August, the government will pause shielding unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly.
Government guidance updated to reflect new social distancing arrangements from 4 July 2020.
Government FAQs updated to include what you can and cannot do before and after 4 July 2020.
How you can see people that you do not live with while protecting yourself and others from coronavirus (COVID-19) from 4 July 2020.
Advisory guidance to be eased for 2.2 million clinically extremely vulnerable people across England, as virus infection rates continue to fall. From Monday 6 July, those shielding from coronavirus can gather in groups of up to 6 people outdoors and form a ‘support bubble’ with another household. Government shielding support package will remain in place until the end of July when people will no longer be advised to shield. The updated guidance for those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable will be published on 6 July and 1 August as these measures come into force.
Frequently asked questions about going out, supporting vulnerable people and going to work.
You can leave your home for medical need. If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health - including if that involves travel beyond your local area - then you can do so. This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day - ideally in line with a care plan agreed with a medical professional.
Even in such cases, in order to reduce the spread of infection and protect those exercising, travel outside of the home should be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and you should remain at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer at all times.
The government introduced three new measures on 23 March:
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
- Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public
Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK, including children, and Protecting older people and vulnerable people. Includes translated information.
This guidance is for people who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities. Includes easy read version.
The guidance has been updated to clarify some key issues, and to ask ‘clinically extremely vulnerable people- to register for support now even if they do no need it right now. This is in order to log how many people are shielding. The guidance includes advice for:
- Visits from essential carers
- What to do if your carer is unwell
- Unpaid carers caring for people who are shielding
- People living in long-term care facilities, for the elderly or people with special needs
Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
You'll need to stay at home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.
Staying at home means you should:
- not go to work, school or public areas
- not use public transport or taxis
- not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
- not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
You can use your garden, if you have one. You can also leave the house to exercise – but stay at least 2 metres away from other people.
See all related information on coronavirus.